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“So what do you do for a living?”

It happens at every RV park where we stop. I guess I don’t look wealthy enough to have retired at this age. When I tell them I am a travel nurse, often as not I am met with another question. “What’s that?” There are plenty of us out there living the RV life. In fact, if you are within 30 miles or so of a hospital, I would wager there is a travel nurse in your RV park.

Many areas of the country have a nursing shortage, and travel nurses fill in the gaps. The industry standard contract is 13 weeks, but there is frequently an opportunity to extend employment longer. Jobs can be lined up through travel nursing companies that serve as an intermediary between nurses and hospitals. The pay for these temporary jobs can be a decent upgrade over standing nursing pay, and you can get a stipend to help cover RV park expenses.

Sliding down sand dunes on a board; donning gloves to create glass art in a 600-degree furnace; climbing a ladder into the dome of a working lighthouse. What novel experiences you can have if you linger in the little towns along the Oregon coast! Like too many RV travelers, when I cruised down the coast on U.S. Highway 101, I seldom went far off the road except to fill up with gas. I was always going somewhere.  This time I was a wanderer, an explorer, a gypsy, soaking up the real life of the small towns.

From Portland, we drove on a secondary road that meanders southwest through rolling wine country, a distraction left for later. A breeze laced with salt and evergreen announced our arrival at Lincoln City. Registration and hookup at Premier RV Park went smoothly and, before the sun sank slowly over the Pacific, we were ordering dinner at the Fathoms, the Inn at Spanish Head’s fine view restaurant across the street from Premier. 

Although you may not guess it by its name, Dead Horse Point State Park is a delightful place. It sits atop a lofty mesa with see-forever views, stunning cliffs, mountain bike trails that are fun and challenging, and hiking trails that lead to views that are even grander.

The park is southwest of Moab, a town known for its awesome mountain bike trails, and the world-famous arches at nearby Arches National Park. Dead Horse Point is accessible from Moab by traveling northwest on U.S. Highway 191 for about nine miles and then west and south on Utah Highway 313 for 23 miles. This route, known as the Dead Horse Point Mesa Scenic Byway, is an easy drive for RVers and also provides access to Canyonlands National Park.  

San Patricio Melaque, Jalisco, Mexico. Six years ago I had never heard of the place. It is a well-kept secret of the Canadian and American snowbirds who have discovered this little piece of paradise only a five-hour drive south of Puerto Vallarta and 45 minutes north of the industrial port of Manzanillo.

Melaque is actually a conglomeration of three beach towns that have grown into each other: San Patricio, Villa Obregon and Melaque itself. Adjacent on the bay is the charming fishing town of Barra Navidad. Barra is also known for its quaint streets, good restaurants and its expensive five-star resort, the Grande Bay. The resort is on the other side of the harbor entrance, accessible by water taxi. Its isolation by water protects Barra somewhat from the high-class crowd. 

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